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BRCC to LSU Engineering Pathway to Success

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Engineering Transfer Issues: Two-year College to Four-year College

Tagged Division

Two Year College Division

Tagged Topic


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Paper Authors


Sarah Cooley Jones Louisiana State University

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Sarah Cooley Jones, Associate Director, Louisiana State University College of Engineering, Student Services and Diversity Initiatives, joined the Office on a fulltime basis in 2009, and she develops and manages scholarships, fellowships and professional development programs for undergraduate and graduate engineering students. These programs include scholarships, seminar series and activities that develop the student academically and professionally so that students can persist in engineering, complete a degree program and contribute as professional engineers.

Ms. Jones joined LSU in 1992 as a College of Engineering research associate in the area of environmental analyses and worked on numerous projects including utilization of industrial by-products, water quality analyses and wastewater treatment. She received her B.S. Chemistry (1980), from The University of Houston

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Warren N. Waggenspack Jr. Louisiana State University

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Warren N. Waggenspack, Jr. is currently the Undergraduate Program Director and holder of the Ned Adler Professorship in Mechanical Engineering at Louisiana State University. He obtained both his baccalaureate and master's degrees from LSU ME and his doctorate from Purdue University's School of Mechanical Engineering. He has been actively engaged in teaching, research and curricula development since joining the LSU faculty in 1988. As Associate Dean in the College of Engineering (2004-2014), he acquired significant funding from NSF to support the development of several initiatives aimed at improving student retention and graduation rates as well as supporting faculty with development of effective learning and teaching pedagogies.

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The National Science Foundation (NSF) S-STEM scholarship program, Engineering Pathway to Success, was a joint effort of the College of Engineering at XXU and XX Community College. It supported the engineering degree progression program with students earning a XXCC associate of science in engineering and completing a bachelor’s of science engineering degree at XXU. Over five years, the program provided scholarships and academic/ professional support to 36 students who demonstrated academic talent and financial need. The primary goals of the program were: to utilize scholarships to create and sustain a pathway for XXCC transfer students and to develop a successful model for transfer students from other community colleges and 4-year institutions based on the experiences and outcomes of the project.

The Pathway Scholarship project in collaboration with the STEP 1B Engineering Grant had specific objectives supporting these goals. They were: (1) develop and maintain an effective liaison between XXCC and XXU; (2) utilize scholars in a peer ambassador program facilitating transfer success; (3) establish a pre-transfer academic counseling program; (4) expand existing seminars to orient and integrate XXCC and other transfer students into XXU and (5) invite XX CC math, science and engineering faculty to participate in ongoing Faculty Development.

Activities of the Scholarship program included outreach, professional development, advising, and developing an overall assessment tool. All scholars participated in outreach activities that consisted of Peer-to-Peer talks at XXCC each semester and Shadow Days at XXU for XXCC students. The Pathway scholars were incorporated into the formalized XXU peer mentor training program and participated in Transfer Career Day for all new transfer students. Advising for XXCC students was enhanced with the addition of a counselor who spent time at both campuses. Survey tools were created to gain a better understanding of the transfer students at key points of their academic career and to assess the program. The questionnaire was also administered to students considering transferring to XXU and Pathway scholars.

Scholarships were awarded to four cohorts; Cohort 1- five students, Cohort 2 – seven students, Cohort 3 - twelve students, and Cohort 4 – twelve students. The eligibility and selection criteria included earning pre-engineering AS degree from XXCC with a 2.75 minimum cumulative GPA and financial need, and the selection committee included faculty and staff from both campuses. The overall persistence (i.e. retention and graduation) of Pathway Scholars in XXU engineering was 94% and the mean GPA was 3.03 at graduation. All scholars from Cohort 1 graduated, and the mean GPA was 3.22. XXU engineering retention and graduation for Cohort 2 was 86%, and the mean GPA at graduation was 2.89. Cohort 3 students transferred to XXU fall 2013 or spring 2014, and the persistence was 100%. Cohort 3 continuing students (n= 2) had a mean GPA of 3.35 and the graduates (n=10) had a mean GPA of 2.94. Cohort 4 students transferred to XXU fall 2014 or spring 2015, and the persistence was 92% after one scholar relocated. Cohort 4 continuing students (n= 10) had a mean GPA of 3.17 and the graduates (n=2) had a mean GPA of 3.35. Results indicate that the Pathway scholars have a graduation rate that greatly exceeds the historical (2003-09) 25% rate for XXCC transfers to XXU. Overall, the Pathway Scholar Program was rated very highly by the scholars according to the questionnaire, and the program delivered on its promise of supporting the students financially so they could focus more on their education, and connecting students with others in their field.

Jones, S. C., & Waggenspack, W. N. (2017, June), BRCC to LSU Engineering Pathway to Success Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--27976

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2017 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015